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When your bike is faster than your car

by Commute by Bike

trafficMy Friday commute home was a good one.

I live in a smaller town and my route to work is pretty much a straight shot down a four lane road. On very rare occasions do I get the opportunity to pass cars that have already passed me since there isn’t usually a ton of congestion, however I left my office right at 5pm on Friday and came up to the one light that sometimes gets backed up. Well I guess everyone decided to leave work at the same time because this light was lined for a half mile.

So I pedaled my bike slowly (it’s uphill) past the huge line of cars, caught the next green light and went on through. I took special notice of a few cars at the back of the line and, sure enough, they never passed me for the rest of the ride. It felt good to know that, for a change, I actually saved time riding my bike.

 
Burley nomad 269

11 Responses to “When your bike is faster than your car”

  1. Jon says:

    I pity those poor suckers on the freeway. Gas, brake, honk. Gas, brake, honk. Honk, honk, punch. Gas, gas gas! There is a two-mile stretch through Brooklyn and Queens where I leapfrog back and forth with the cars. I love that feeling of zipping through traffic and congestion, while all those chumps are stressed out and stuck in their cars, crawling along.

    My bike commute is the fastest way to get there, hands down. There is an express subway stop only a few blocks from my apartment, but still on a good day I get to work twenty minutes quicker by bike (45 minutes instead of 1 hour +).

  2. wolfy says:

    @ rush hours it’s a wash. But I almost always commute on off hours. 10:00 am and 6:30 pm. Better if I have to drive and safer when I ride.

    -M

  3. dorkus says:

    I am quicker than a car every day–there’s a large park, apartment complex, and strip mall in the middle of my commute by bike. If you’re in a car, navigating the strip mall parking lot is a disaster, cars aren’t allowed in the park, and there are speed bumps at the apartment complex. Plus there are some one-way street issues, which I avoid by going through the park. This is in Boston, so streets are NOT nice grids.

    Like this on a bike: work—————PARK———————->home 8-10 min

    If I were driving: work–\ lights–|
    \ PARK | |—->home 15-20 min
    \ |
    \ /—–|
    \stoplight——-/

  4. RC in Halifax says:

    My commute is typically about the same or slightly quicker than the same trip by car leaving at the same time of day. If the main roads were wide enough for me I’d always be significantly quicker than the same trip with a car.

    Whenever there is a semi-major to major accident or a bad snow storm my trip is also very much quicker than driving.

  5. Apertome says:

    My morning commute is about the same as if I drove, but in the evenings, cycling is faster. I can go a more direct route on my bike, going some places where cars can’t drive, and with fewer stoplights. It’s also a lot more pleasant on a bike.

  6. Bikes always win here in Seattle – no matter what time of day or what part of town. Plus, you save more than just time while riding (basically everything you mentioned in your previous post) and you develop sexy legs. Like I said bikes always win!

  7. Fritz says:

    My multimodal commute (combined bike+bus+train+bike) takes about the same amount of time as driving. But the time I spend on the bus and train is time to relax or sleep or read or do email or blogging or watching video podcasts ;-)

  8. Joe G. says:

    My commute is very short, but going through Old Town and the one way streets and stoplights takes anywhere from 10-20 mins to get 1.5 miles to work by car. This morning it took 7 minutes from home to work, only stopping at one light, and not running any stop signs, etc. It is rather nice to get to work energized by biking and saving 10+ minutes.

  9. Miss Moppet says:

    My commute varies depending on the building I’m working in…Anywhere between 4 miles and 8 miles one way. The first part is through “street-car suburb” areas that are high density but largely residential…Easy and pleasant. The home stretch involves an 18th-century downtown with a lot of one way streets, horse and carriage tours, WALKING tours, and frustrated delivery drivers in large trucks. It is always an adventure, and a major time-suck.

    Still, generally, the bike takes about the same time as the car, especially when you factor in parking. There are those wonderful times, though, when I can get out of a congested area and into an alley or less busy street and beat the traffic snarls. Often space is so tight that I actually hop off my bike and jog it along the sidewalk or through a crowded pedestrian crosswalk to get to my alternate route…Not glamorous from a cycling perspective but much safer for the crowds of oblivious tourists looking UP at historical markers or DOWN at their maps. (I’m not knocking them, by the way…It is awesome to live in a place where people WANT to visit!)

  10. Josh in Chicago says:

    When I lived in the burbs I never sat in traffic because I was always going the opposite direction. I can’t imagine anywhere out there being faster on a bike. Now I live and work in the city, and can beat any driver (following most of the traffic laws) to any point in the city. I am 20 minutes quicker than the train and who knows hom much faster than traffic over my 10 mile commute through city streets. I usually keep track of cars and dont seem to ever get out of eyesight of passing cars, they always get caught up at lights and I dont see them usually more than once.

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